EVALUATION OF SENIOR STUDENTS AS PEER MENTORS IN CHEMISTRY EDUCATION: A TEACHING EXPERIENCE
1 University of Alicante, Department of Analytical Chemistry, Nutrition and Food Sciences (SPAIN)
2 University of Alicante, Department of Inorganic Chemistry (SPAIN)
3 University of Alicante, Department of Inorganic Chemistry and University Institute of Materials (SPAIN)
4 University of Alicante (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 9-10 November, 2020
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Mentoring can be defined as a continuous feedback process of help and guidance between a mentor (a senior student) and a student or group of students in order to optimize their development and learning potential [1-2]. In recent years, there has been an exponential increase in the implementation of mentoring-based programs in universities . In the mentoring process, sharing knowledge and experience is crucial, and the mentor not only reinforces the feeling of personal satisfaction, but also gets the chance to review his/her own growth, through a sharing of experience and insights .
A mentoring teaching experience has been performed at the University of Alicante with first-year students of the Chemistry degree, acting postgraduate volunteer students as mentors. In this year 2020, 10 mentors, 66 students and 4 professors (supporting mentors and students in the process) participated in this experience. First-year students have to develop a research project on a current chemist topic in groups of 4 students, being each group tutored by a mentor who acts as a reference figure complementary but closer than the teacher. Each mentor guides its group in the research work by holding face-to-face meetings and applying team dynamics which favours the interaction between all team components and strengths the relationship between the mentor and the working group . As a result, students were more motivated to accomplish a common objective and achieve personal and professional advancement, developing skills related to decision making, collaboration or communication. At the same time, the mentor acquires different skills such as entrepreneurial, organizational or leadership which can be useful for his/her personal life and professional future.
The level of satisfaction of mentors and students was evaluated through the development of several surveys, showing very positive responses from both parts. It can be concluded that mentoring is an excellent tool to help first-year students to develop team skills and successfully achieve a common goal, while being, at the same time, a feedback process for training senior students in their professional development who achieved a more objective assessment of their capabilities after the mentoring process.
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Keywords: Mentoring, collaborative competencies, group dynamics, teamwork, Chemistry Degree.